New Mexico Center for Advancement of Research, Engagement, & Science on Health Disparities (NM CARES HD) - Environmental Health CoreEPA Grant Number: NIMHD009
Title: New Mexico Center for Advancement of Research, Engagement, & Science on Health Disparities (NM CARES HD) - Environmental Health Core
Investigators: Williams, Robert L , Scott, Amy Anixter , Apodaca, Veronica D , Lewis, Johnnye Lynn , Page-Reeves, Janet , Liu, Jim , Hudson, Laurie , Moffett, Mark , Gonzales, Melissa
Institution: University of New Mexico
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2014
Project Amount: $528,500
RFA: Transdisciplinary Networks of Excellence on the Environment and Health Disparities (2012) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Human Health
Researchers at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC) have a long history of working with state and local agencies and community groups on environmental health (EH) issues. Through partnerships, the UNM HSC researchers have played a substantial role in early work identifying environmental risks contributing to health disparities. These include not only our unique toxicants such as those linked to weapons production, but also socioeconomic, demographic and built environmental aspects of risk. However, the infrastructure to research and fill information gaps to reduce disparities has not existed. Through the proposed Environmental Health Core (EHC), we will expand the scope of NM CARES HD (New Mexico Center for Advancement of Research, Engagement, & Science on Health Disparities) Center to incorporate this EH disparities perspective to inform research, health care and policy decisions that reduce EH disparities in New Mexico (NM). Integration of the proposed EHC as a core component of the NM CARES HD Center will advance EH equity knowledge and interventions that are not only scientifically-based, but also culturally-centered and community-partnered. The EHC will focus principally on reducing health disparities among two of the most underserved populations in the United States: Hispanics and Native Americans.
The objective of the EHC is to establish a research focus in the science of intervention on EH disparities based at UNM HSC. This effort will be based on sound research practices, informed by community needs, and will focus on filling information gaps to inform policy and clinical care. The EHC will initiate a vigorous, self-sustaining, research core that advances the scientific base of knowledge about interventions and solutions to socioeconomic, natural, chemical, and built environment issues contributing to the health disparities faced by Native Americans and Hispanic communities in NM, and to actively work to ensure these results are used to inform policy, clinical, social and behavioral interventions to reduce disparities.
We intend to meet our objective by:
- Build on and expand existing relationships between partners to identify and address gaps in our understanding of EH disparities to inform an intervention science research focus in EH disparities based at UNM HSC.
- Initiate two new community partnership-based research projects, focused on interventions to reduce EH disparities. The projects are: Project 1: Fiestas: Improving food security in an urban Hispanic community. We will develop and pilot a collaborative community-based intervention to improve the social and food environment in Santa Barbara Martineztown (SBMT), an urban food desert community with marked health disparities; and Project 2: Zinc reversal of uranium toxicity: potential for community-based intervention. We will test a mechanism-based intervention to reverse the effects of uranium through use of zinc supplements in a prenatal cohort.
- Mentoring minority trainees to develop and expand EH disparities research. In all core activities as well as in the two research projects associated with the core, we will mentor and involve community EH scholars and trainees representing our partner communities.
The key purpose of the EHC is to promote and expand intervention research on EH disparities. In addition to our initial scientific projects, we view each of our planned activities as aimed at expanding research on the EH disparities. Sustainability of the EHC research projects will focus on applications for external funding to follow up on research results. The ongoing programs and partnerships that have led to these projects will continue beyond this EHC, to sustain the community relationships. The history of the EHCC team increases the likelihood of sustainability of these efforts and their integration into health disparities programs in NM and at UNM-HSC. The success of the proposed research will also strengthen community relations because both projects are direct responses to community-identified needs. Finally, the projects and the core also serve to expand the research resources that can be brought to bear on EH disparities and community interventions, further increasing likelihood of sustainable initiatives from the EHC.